Friday, April 18, 2008

The Desert

Our family and friends know how special Yucca Haven is. Situated in Morongo Vally west of Yucca Vally, this cabin was built on homesteaded property by Aunt Melissa in the 40's and 50's with the help of her sisters, her students and hitchhikers that she held at gunpoint. The basic cabin is built from concrete and bottles of varying shapes and colors, set neck to neck. The foundation was built using native "sand" which has started to crumble because of the dirt, but based on the history, it should last another 50 to 100 years. The majority of the bottles are round clear glass coffee jars, but the shapes and colors of many of the bottles give the cabin an extraordinary ambiance in morning and evening light.

I have early memories of going to the desert with Aunt Melissa. I think I was about 5 years old. We would stop at the "Diner" in San Gabriel Valley for breakfast and drive out Hwy 10. Home cooked meals with Aunt Melissa were always interesting. Fried carrots is the meal I remember best. Greasy orange things. I am amazed that I still like carrots. There was an outhouse and a "potty" bowl at the desert for nighttime.

After Aunt Melissa could no longer visit the desert, "Grandma and Grandpa" took over the maintenance and improvement work. We helped with the initial cleanup and desert rat elimination. Grandma and Grandpa installed a septic system, and created a kitchen and bathroom (indoor plumbing) and finished the back porch to include a bedroom with two twin beds. They installed a hot water heater in the bathroom, and a primitive stall shower. There was no sink, so brushing teeth, shaving and washing hands was done at the kitchen sink.

When Grandma and Grandpa decided that they no longer wanted the responsibility of ownership and maintenance, we took over. John and Les spent a week grinding the residue concrete from the interior side of the bottles so we could start to paint. (There is more to that story) Les, Lynn, John and I started the slow process of applying paint and then wiping the bottles clean. We also painted the ceiling and moved the water heater to the back porch. There is now a small sink in the bathroom.

Oh, the picnic table. There is a long picnic table with benches that stays in the cabin while we are not there. It goes outside on arrival, and has been the scene of many group meals, evening cocktail get togethers and used as a star gazing platform.

This is a very abbreviated visit to the desert. Many special days have been spent enjoying the views, air and sounds (or quiet) of the desert. The pictures below were taken last year. We now have television, stereo CD, VCR and DVD. I'm not sure that is really a good thing.

1 comment:

KY Transplants said...

Looks like a neat place. I've seen shows with cabins like this one. I can only imagine the colors that come through and how they mix.